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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Davis City Council officially ends use of glyphosate, approves use of pre-emergent pesticides amid community’s concern

The grass is not always greener on the other side: Council members combat increasing invasive species due to toxic pesticides

The Davis City Council voted to officially end the use of pesticides containing glyphosate, the chemical found in RoundUp, after the city successfully reduced its use in public green spaces over the last few years. Council members also approved the use of pesticides with more moderate toxicity to combat the increase in invasive species.  

This vote comes after a 2017 decision when the Davis City Council decided to phase out glyphosate pesticides in areas of high public exposure by 2020, such as parks, greenbelts and bike paths. At a previous meeting, the council made other decisions regarding pesticide use, including banning harmful neonicotinoid pesticides and developing the Integrated Pest Management Team. 

Though the official three-year deadline was in November, city staff said that glyphosate use was already eliminated in high public exposure areas when the matter was reevaluated during a city council meeting on Jan. 28, 2020. The approval of the official ban means that glyphosate can still be used in city operations that are not highly accessible by the public, like at the wastewater treatment plant. 

The reduction in glyphosate has led to a substantial rise in costs for maintenance of the green spaces, with more complaints from the community about the increase in weeds, according to a presentation given by city staff during the city council meeting. 

City Councillor Dan Carson described how reducing the glyphosate impacted the aesthetic effect of the green space in a video of the meeting. 

“I heard and talked to other people and saw for myself that particularly on the medians like Lake and Anderson and other places — it looked horrible,” Carson said. “I’m hoping we’re able to move ahead with a pre-emergent that seems to pose a pretty low risk.”

City officials then proposed using Tier 2 pre-emergent herbicides to counteract weed growth in green spaces that are overwhelmed with invasive species. The herbicides are moderately toxic, providing a compromise between manual labor and heavy chemical use. 

Several community members voiced their disapproval of the use of new pesticides during public comments. Roberta Millstein, the chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission, spoke for better transparency between city staff and city commissions to help regulate the use of pesticides.

“It is apparent that staff is not in any position to implement a new round of pesticide usage without a trained IPM specialist on board, and without first bringing this new usage of plan to the NRC [Natural Resources Commission], Recreation and Parks and Open Space and Habitat to explain exactly what they are doing and why,” Millstein said.

Councilmember Will Arnold voiced concerns similar to Millstein’s, questioning whether city staff can make an informed decision about pesticide use without the right avenues of review. 

“We don’t have the IPM specialist — and we don’t have the TAC in place — so that’s our only resource at this point: these commissions,” Arnold said. “Skipping past them […] does give me a lot of discomfort.”

Despite objections from the public, four out of the five councilmembers, with Arnold dissenting, voted to allow the use of pre-emergent pesticide, thus passing the resolution. 

With the Tier 2 pre-emergent herbicide approved, the areas that would be exposed  to the new pesticide include streets such as Pole Line Road, Chiles Road, Mace Boulevard, Covell Boulevard, Anderson Road and Shasta Road, as well as some interior medians. 

Some parks and larger green areas that are also subject to pesticide use include Cannery, Mace Ranch Park, John Baravetto Park, Arroyo Park, Northstar Park, Sandy Motley Park, Walnut Park and the El Macero Greenbelt.

In addition to using Tier 2 pre-emergent herbicides, city staff added future goals for pesticide use in the city, including the development of an Integrated Pest Management Technical Advisory Committee and added mapping of pesticide hazard and reduction mapping. Ultimately, the city staff is looking to respond to the public’s concerns with minimal use of pesticides.

Written by: Madeleine Payne — city@theaggie.org



    The city staff is looking to respond to a MINORITY of the public’s concerns by replacing glyphosate with pre-emergent pesticides that simply will NOT work. Besides, glyphosate is vindicated and continues to be registered as a successful and safe product. The US Environmental Protection Agency ( US EPA ) has evaluated the herbicide glyphosate, and has reaffirmed that there is NO RISK to public health when used properly. According to scientific up-to-date knowledge, there is NO RISK to human health from current uses of glyphosate. There is NO RISK to children or adults from currently registered uses. There is NO indication that children are more sensitive to glyphosate. Furthermore, glyphosate is NOT a carcinogen.

    The US EPA and other national regulatory agencies world-wide have vindicated glyphosate ― these agencies include those within the European Union, the United Nations, and Canada. These agencies have found that glyphosate is NO RISK of concern to human health or the environment when used according to label directions.

    Not surprisingly, glyphosate-hating fanatжcs, like Friends Of The Earth ( FOE ), have demonstrated that they are incapable of processing the overwhelming scientific evidence proving that glyphosate is NO RISK. NOT pretty low risk, but NO RISK. These fanatжcs conspire to mindlessly destroy our urban green spaces that are dependent on the use of safe and effective conventional pest control products like glyphosate.

    The amateurish & discredited fanatжcs at Friends Of The Earth ( FOE ) ridiculously allege that they have a monopoly of the « complete scientific picture » regarding glyphosate. And, somehow, only FOE has assessed so-called « recent science ». The assessment by FOE has been outrageously false ! FOE has been discredited since it does not conform with internationally-accredited practices, such as the stringent Good Laboratory Practice ( GLP ). The assessment by FOE was performed without any official GLP oversight. Consequently, the FOE assessment has been discredited ! Glyphosate is NO RISK !

    Forget about the UNPROVEN San Francisco municipal Hazard Tier Rating system. There are NO UNACCEPTABLE RISKS to health and the environment because of US EPA’s and Health Canada’s INTERNATIONALLY-ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC STANDARDS, i.e. Good Laboratory Practice ( GLP ). There are NO unacceptable risks to health and the environment because of GLP.

    All Risk Assessments used for the approval of pest control products must be completed by laboratories sanctioned by GLP, and using only GLP practices. Ultimately, the cost to manufacturers to get a pest control product assessed for safety and brought to market is about 250 million dollars. That is 250 million dollars MORE than what is being spent by the UNPROVEN San Francisco Hazard Tier Rating system. GLP-based Risk Assessments ensure that pest control products are scientifically-safe, pose NO unacceptable risk to health and environment, and WILL NOT cause harm to people, animals, or the environment.

    Up-to-date knowledge about glyphosate illuminates the world, and invalidates glyphosate-hating fanatжcs. The industry must defend glyphosate, whatever the cost may be.

    http://pesticidetruths.com/ WILLIAM H GATHERCOLE AND NORAH G

    Explore the following link …

    √ — Vindication — US EPA — Reaffirms No Glyphosate Risk To Public Health — LINK


    √ — Health Canada — Pesticide Safety Infographics — LINK



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